CNN botches tweet for story of tragic Illinois killing

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CNN has posted a story about a horrifying turn of events in Mundelein, Ill., a suburb of Chicago. A 14-year-old girl, it reports, has been arrested and charged for murder for the stabbing of her 11-year-old half-sister. Police found the victim in their house after the 14-year-old called about the incident, and reported that an intruder was culpable for the stabbing. Three schools were placed on lockdown because of the girl’s account, reports CNN.

Until, that is, the girl’s story “unraveled quickly.” As for motive, here’s what CNN reports: “The teen told police she was mad that her sister didn’t appreciate all she did for her, prosecutors said at the suspect’s detention hearing Wednesday.”

That’s all you need to know about this story to grasp its tone. It’s the sort of news that you don’t ever want to hear. And that’s also the reason why it’s not the type of story that you promote on Twitter via gimmickry or cuteness, as CNN did in the tweet cited above. Such teaser-tweets are cheesy enough when they relate to the trivial, like the latest twist in the life of a celeb, for example. A good place to sample the somewhat appropriate use of this overused device is on the Twitter account of HuffPo Spoilers, which is dedicated to answering the various click-baiting teases sent out by the Huffington Post. A couple of illustrative examples:

 

 

And when the teaser-tweet relates to the tragic and depressing — as in the Illinois stabbing case — it veers into the offensive, as Twitter people have noted with ferocity:

 

 

 

Erik Wemple writes the Erik Wemple blog, where he reports and opines on media organizations of all sorts.
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Erik Wemple | January 22